New water source heat pump fund launched in Scotland

The Scottish Government has unveiled a £2.3m fund to encourage the development of large-scale water source heat pump schemes in Scotland.

The Water Source Heat Pumps Challenge Fund, which is part of the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme, will support community groups and private companies which need financial help to help complete their schemes.

A total of £375,000 is being made available to help with the development of investment grade business proposals.

And support of up to a further £2 million will be available to those with a fully developed investment grade business proposal, but who have been unable to identify private investment.

“Supporting the development of district heating and wider low carbon technologies will help maximise the economic opportunities from Scotland’s low carbon sector,” said Scottish Finance Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing.

“Today I am pleased to announce that we are turning our attention to accelerating large scale Water Source Heat Pump Projects to support low carbon district heating schemes in Scotland.

“Heat is estimated to account for over half of Scotland’s total energy use and responsible for nearly half of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions, so the imperative to take action is very clear.

“We have already made significant progress and will continue to work together with energy experts, businesses and communities to move towards our target of having have 40,000 homes connected to district heating by 2020,” added Mr Ewing.

Stephanie Clark, Policy Manager for Scottish Renewables, added: “This new funding will kick-start the sector in Scotland and help towards meeting our 2020 target of sourcing 11 per cent of our heat demand from renewables.

“With heat accounting for more than half of our energy demand developing technologies that can generate clean, reliable heat on a large scale is vital.”

However Ms Clark also warned: “A major hurdle in our path is the UK Government’s review of the subsidy mechanism, the Renewable Heat Incentive. The budget for RHI ends in March 2016 and we have yet to receive any clarity on whether they will maintain it up to 2020. Removing this uncertainty would allow the sector to grow and secure a long term future for itself.”

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues